Roar writer Ryan Lam interviews Essex-based country artist Adam Brucass about his musical journey, inspirations and country music in the UK.
Roar: What obstacles did you face when starting your music career? How did you overcome them and what advice would you give to other aspiring country singers?
Adam: There are a few things I’ve learnt in recent years that I wish I had known from the start. Coming from a rock music background, there was always this rejection of anything remotely generic or in some cases anything positive, and everything had to be over-complicated and dramatic to be considered good. That never sat right with me. I donâ€™t think there’s anything wrong with the classic approach of â€œthree chords and the truthâ€ because so many great artists have made a career out of it. ClichÃ© things get called clichÃ© for a reason. I don’t write from experience very often, because when I do, it tends to come out pretty dreary and miserable, and I wouldnâ€™t want to listen to it, so I tend to write the kinds of stuff I would want to hear – where would I like to be right now and what would I like to be doing? If that means writing about whiskey, sunshine or the woman I love, then thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going to write about. Based on my experience, people like it and so do I, so I stick with it.
Other than that, I think Iâ€™ve probably had the same problems as anyone else – getting ahead, getting noticed. In this day and age of social media marketing, and everything being about streams and followers and likes, it’s easy to forget that what you really need is fans, not just followers, so my advice would be to look after the one per cent, take every opportunity to talk to anyone who compliments your music, ask about them, ask about where they’re from, what theyâ€™re into, make an effort to bring them into your world and make them feel special. One true fan is worth a million followers. As the old saying goes, â€œLook after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselvesâ€. It’s exactly the same principle – if you make those few fans feel special, they will do the work for you and the fan base will grow.
R: Could you tell our audience a little bit about the genre and inspiration of your upcoming single? What was the recording process like?
A: Itâ€™s a bit strange, because this record is actually upcycled. It was recorded a few years ago, when I was in a band called Hollow County. We wrote some great songs, and there’s a few tracks still on Spotify and YouTube, it was my first real experience of writing and playing country pop. Sadly, it ended up going the way of the dodo, as bands often do. Life got in the way and we ended up hanging up the gloves, but this is one of the songs we recorded that we never got to release, so it features the guitar talents of my good friend Dean Bonning who co-wrote the song with and some awesome backing vocals from Eva Tobin. I got in touch with them, and they were both really happy to let me release it as a solo record. I think we were all happy to just see it get released. It’s a great song, with this awesome, driving, Tom Petty style country beat, some great lyrics, we were really proud of it and we still are.
We recorded the track and a handful of others with a fantastic producer called Arthur Walwin who was a friend of Dean’s, and I kind of latched onto that relationship and made sure to keep in touch. Since then, Arthur produced my first solo record, “Forever,” which was released back in July. He’s such a great guy to work with, he’s so patient and he’s got a great ear for working out harmonies and that kind of thing. Iâ€™m hopefully going to be working with him on more stuff soon.
R: What message do you want to convey with your single?
A: Again, Iâ€™ve never really been one for trying to pretend I have something to say. Iâ€™m an entertainer, and I write songs that I think people would enjoy listening to, so I wouldnâ€™t say thereâ€™s any real message to this song. Itâ€™s got a good beat, and it gave me a chance to show off a little, vocally, towards the end of the track. Obviously, as I mentioned, the song was written a while ago, so I donâ€™t know if there was anything specific in mind when we wrote it. It touches on the subject of the passage of time and how people change in a relationship. Iâ€™ve been thinking about the significance of that to me recently, as my girlfriend and I just passed out tenth anniversary, and itâ€™s been interesting to look back over the years. But more specifically, itâ€™s about this guy who seems to be begging for a second chance and promising that things can go back to the way they once were. I donâ€™t think that really applies to me, but itâ€™s a theme that Iâ€™m sure some people can relate to.
R: Where do you see your music in the future? Do you have any plans to perform in London?
A: Wembley would be a fine thing, right? Nah, but I do struggle with small gigs, itâ€™s something that’s always bugged me. I hate the clubs, the pub scene, the little intimate venues, I like having room to move on stage. When I auditioned for The Voice in London a few years ago and they asked me for one interesting fact about myself, I couldnâ€™t really think of anything, so I said Iâ€™d be way more comfortable across the street in Wembley stadium doing this in front of 80,000 people than I am doing it in this room with ten people, so I guess that says it all. I think if I can make some friends later on and get the attention of the right people, I’ll look at jumping on some decent sized shows, but I think Iâ€™ve done the bars and clubs circuit for long enough. Other than that, itâ€™s just waiting for a call from Big Machine or Sony Nashville, right?
With the way the industry is at the moment and the way things are done now, my main focus is to get more music released and build a following to a point where I might actually get considered for shows, to make sure Iâ€™ve actually got someone to play to. A lot of what Iâ€™m creating, as Iâ€™m doing most of it alone, isn’t really at a show-ready level yet anyway. I donâ€™t like playing shows on my own as the singer/songwriter with a guitar, Iâ€™m much happier with a band behind me, so Iâ€™ve got a few local guys Iâ€™m putting a backline together with, mostly friends who aren’t really all that big into the country thing, but that Iâ€™ve managed to rope into helping me out. They’re a great bunch of musicians.
Adamâ€™s new single “That Guy” is available to pre-save and pre-order on all major streaming platforms ahead of its release on 29th November 2021.